A lawyer once asked Jesus, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” He said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” We are also told in 1 John “God is love.” There seems to be a mystery here. How do you suppose we are to love God and our neighbor when apparently God himself is love?
When it comes to the Law of God we have no ability in ourselves to perform it. We know this as soon as Moses comes down the mountain with the Ten Commandments because he also brings laws for the sacrificial system. Now why do you suppose God would provide a sacrificial system? He knew, even as he gave the commandments, we wouldn’t and couldn’t keep them, so he provided a way to cover our sins through animal sacrifices. Of course these never could take away our sins but they did suffice until the final sacrifice Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, came along. We find out later on in the New Testament the Law wasn’t given for our salvation but to lead us to Christ who is our salvation.
Jesus also used the Law to get people to see they have no ability to live up to the perfect standard God demands. In Matthew 5 Jesus tells us, “You are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Do you think Jesus didn’t mean it when he told us to be perfect? You see, just like the Law of God demands perfection or it requires a sacrifice; Jesus too demands perfection. The standard never changes. We’re dealing with a perfect God therefore he demands perfection and nothing else will do.
Think with me for a little bit. If God, who is love, created everything, and everything came out from him, then everything was created by and for love, correct? It seems a command of perfect love from a perfectly loving God isn’t too much to ask huh? Apparently this sin thing added a new element to the human being that wasn’t there in the beginning. Selfishness or self centered-ness apparently is the main ingredient in the fall of man. God, who is love, created man to love and be loved. Satan deceived Eve into self-for-self action, and she then lead Adam into it and viola! God’s sort of love is no longer our natural state. Now we are infected with a selfish kind of love that says “all for me, me first, mine, mine, mine.” So God, who is love, sent his only begotten Son—the ultimate act of Self-for-other love, to die in our place in order to place his kind of love back into us humans. The indwelling Christ is the only one who truly loves in the manner commanded by God. If he dwells within us he loves through us and as us. Paul said, “It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.” Do you think it’s safe to say, “It is no longer I who love but Christ who loves in me?”
Now we can see that all of God’s commands have one and the same function. They are all to put a load on us God knows we can’t carry in order for us to come to Christ. He already knows we can’t keep his commands of love and perfection, but he also knows unless he pours them on real thick we are never going to come to see it. If we don’t ever see our inability to love God and our neighbor we are never going to seek God’s mercy. Telling us to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect isn’t something we can do it is only something we can receive from him and then let his perfect love flow through us out to everyone else. We were designed to be a conduit for God to transmit his love to the rest of the world. That will never happen unless he makes these demands on us, we give it our best shot, fail and cry out to him to come and rescue us. The beautiful thing is this God, who is love, will come to our rescue again and again. “We love because he first loved us.”
Written by Louie